Essay On Gender Roles In The Scarlet Letter

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My paper is about gender roles in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I believe I will focus on how Hester Prynne defies both society and gender based stereotypes. It will mostly be about her, but I will bring up Dimmesdale to contrast the two opposites. Additionally, I will use her affair with Dimmesdale that occurred behind her husband’s back. I can go into how Dimmesdale also takes on a feminine role, opposite to Hester, and how Hester chooses not to be a meek, Puritan wife. This leads to how Hester continually takes control of her life without the assistance of a man. For instance, she chooses to remain in Boston, changes the meaning of the letter by decorating it, insults the men in authority by using her profits from them to make …show more content…
Bayms considers Hester to be a heroine because no matter what her gender is, her actions would still be just as daring and noble. One specific quality Hester has is her strength, which shines through when she is forced to wear a humiliating letter and continues to be sympathetic and kind. Since the letter is originally intended to demean Hester until she admits to committing a sin, it ultimately fails. Also, even though it is technically mandatory to wear, she still has the choice to leave the community, but decides not to with her own free will. In result, she always holds the power of continuing to wear it or not. Lastly, Baym considers Hester’s social status as an immoral woman in a puritan, male-dominated community to be an advantage because she is insignificant to …show more content…
Hawthorne did not make Hester the heroine of the story because of her individuality and feminism, but rather because she ends up following female stereotypes as Pearl’s loving mother. Pearl’s main purpose is to keep Hester from becoming too modernized and stopping her from breaking gender roles, which is perceived as a positive action by Hawthorne. However, in the chapter, “Another View of Hester,” she is shown to be beginning to follow feminism and picturing women being equal to men. According to Hawthorne, she was fortunate not to follow this path and instead accept her motherly responsibilities like all the other women in this

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